Asus Prime Z270-A Review

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Posted by Heath Coop on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - 8:00am

Asus Prime Z270-A

Introduction

Asus is one of the leading motherboard manufacturers in the world. Many an enthusiast keep a close eye on them whenever a new motherboard technology surfaces. Of course with the release of Kaby Lake and the Z270 chipset, those enthusiasts were scouring the web trying to just sneak peeks of the new Asus motherboards. They weren’t disappointed as the new Prime line surfaced.

Prime is the new name for Asus’ mainstream motherboards. Previously their mainstream motherboards didn’t have a conventional name, but with the release of Z270, that has changed. Prime motherboards have a much more conventional look compared to their ROG – Republic of Gamers, Tuf, and Pro Gamer lines. That’s not to say they don’t back a punch though.

Our test subject is the Prime Z270-A, the current flagship of the Prime line. It offers everything you’d expect in an Asus motherboard. There is support for both 6th and 7th Generation Intel Core processors. The four DDR4 memory slots memory that can handle up to 64GB and at speed all the way up to 3866Mhz. There’s dual Turbo M.2 connectivity with transfer speeds up to 32 Gb/s with support for Intel Optane technology. Six SATA ports offer even more storage options. There are USB 3.1 front panel connectors along with two USB 3.1 rear ports. The Intel i219V chip provides high quality network connectivity Yes, all the hardware bases are covered.

Asus didn’t stop there with the Prime Z270-A though. 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5 provides whole system optimization with a single click. 5X Protection III offers SafeSlot Core fortified PCI-E slots, LANGuard LAN protection, overvoltage, stainless steel I/O, and and DIGI+ VRM: 8 Phase digital power design.  Asus’ also added their own Aura Sync RGB lighting system with Lighting control, RGB strip header and lighting effects synchronization with compatible Asus ROG products. On top of all that, a full software suite and robust overclocking features are also included. That’s quite a bit to get excited about.

ASUS's take on the Prime Z270-A

ASUS Prime is the next evolution of the ASUS motherboard, born of a pedigree that stretches back to 1989. Our team of world-class engineers are passionate about empowering everyone to enjoy the benefits of customization and tuning, and the driving force behind the development of Prime is to make advanced enthusiast controls easily accessible — maximizing performance, stability and compatibility for the very best DIY PC experiences. Simply stated: it's time for Prime.

One-click Overclock and Cooling

One click takes care of all that complex tuning. ASUS 5-Way Optimization makes your PC smart. It dynamically optimizes essential aspects of your system based on real-time usage — so you get superb CPU performance, everyday energy savings, ultra-stable digital power, cool and quiet fans, and now networking and audio settings that are tailored to your apps. In short, 5-Way ASUS Optimization ensures that your PC is perfect for gaming, entertainment and productivity!

Fan Xpert 4

ASUS Prime Z270-A features the most comprehensive fan controls ever, configurable via Fan Xpert 4 and UEFI BIOS.

Multiple temperature sources

Each header monitors and reacts to three thermal sensors that can now also sense temperature on ASUS graphics cards.

All-in-one water-cooling set

Full control of PWM or DC water pumps, perfect for both custom and self-contained cooling setups.

4-pin PWM/DC fan

Every onboard header supports auto-detection of PWM or DC fans.

High-amp fan support

A dedicated fan header that can supply up to 3 Amps, for high-speed high-current fans.

Smart protection

A dedicated integrated circuit protects each fan header from over-temperature and overcurrent.

Auto-Tuning Mode

Scans all fan parameters with a single click.

Extreme Quiet Mode

Reduces all fan speeds to below the default minimum, for extra-quiet operation and power savings during light loads.

OC Design – ASUS PRO Clock Technology

A dedicated base-clock generator designed for 7th Generation Intel® processors allows overclocked base clock frequencies up to or beyond 425MHz*. This custom solution works in tandem with the ASUS TurboV processing unit to enhance voltage and base-clock overclocking control — providing an exciting new way to boost performance to extreme heights.

DDR4 Overclocking Strength in Numbers

Third-generation ASUS T-Topology allows memory frequencies that are higher than ever — to 3866MHz and beyond. Refined manufacturing ensures ultra-consistent quality and minimal crosstalk between custom trace paths, so you'll enjoy the thrill of overclocking DDR4 with time-aligned signaling for superior stability and compatibility.

SLI HB bridge (2-WAY-M)

The new ASUS SLI HB bridge doubles the available transfer bandwidth to provide silky-smooth surround gaming. Compatible with NVIDIA® Titan X, GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1070 graphics cards, SLI HB bridge is your fast track to gaming greatness.

Native M.2/NVMe PCIe RAID Support for Lightning Fast Storage Speed

Not satisfied with single-storage device read/write speeds? Then join the fast lane and build a RAID 0 array using two PCIe storage drives to enjoy data transfers at lightning speeds!

Intel Optane Memory Ready

Intel® Optane™ Memory* is a revolutionary (non-volatile memory) technology supported by Prime 200-series motherboards. Intel Optane Memory modules accelerate attached storage to reduce boot and load times, so everything feels faster and more responsive.

Speed Up with Onboard M.2 Up to 32Gb/s

With x4 PCI Express 3.0/2.0 bandwidth, M.2 supports up to 32Gb/s data-transfer speeds. It is the perfect choice for an operating system or application drive, making your whole PC or professional apps work as fast as possible.

10Gb/s USB 3.1 Onboard

With backward-compatible USB 3.1 Type-A and reversible USB 3.1 Type-C ports, you'll experience ultimate connection flexibility and blazing data-transfer speeds of up to 10Gb/s (twice as fast as standard USB 3.0).

ThunderboltEX 3 for Blistering Speeds and USB-C Connectivity

Prime Z270-A supports the ThunderboltEX 3 card for breathtaking bi-directional Thunderbolt™ 3 transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps, 4x USB speeds, 2x video bandwidth; and for reversible USB 3.1 Type-C compatibility as well as high-powered 36W charging!

Media-acclaimed UEFI BIOS

The smoothest, slickest mouse-controlled graphical BIOS has been improved to make it even more appealing. Whether you're a PC novice or a seasoned overclocker, EZ and Advanced modes help you find your way, quickly and easily.

ASUS Aura Sync technology for distinctive lighting effects

Aura Sync takes RGB lighting beyond the checkbox, combining and controlling the LEDs of your Aura-enabled products from a single application — so you can achieve perfect, synchronized lighting harmony. Aura lets you sync light effects across your graphics card, Prime Z270-A motherboard, and an ever-growing portfolio of Aura-enabled products.

ASUS Aura lighting control

A well-tuned system deserves a matching aesthetic. ASUS Aura offers full RGB lighting control with a variety of functional presets for built-in RGB LEDs as well as LED strips connected to the onboard 4-pin RGB headers — all of which can be synced with an ever-growing portfolio of Aura Sync-capable ASUS hardware.

Realtek codec and unique design features for pristine, powerful audio

ASUS Prime Z270-A utilizes a unique audio codec designed in close collaboration with Realtek — the Realtek S1220A. It also features an unprecedented 120dB signal-to-noise ratio for the stereo line-out and a 113dB SNR for the line-in, providing pristine audio quality. Additionally, a new impedance-sensing circuit automatically adjusts gain to ensure the optimal volume range for your headphones.

Intel Ethernet

Prime Z270-A features the very latest Intel® Ethernet for faster, smoother gaming. Intel's LAN has the serious double advantage of reducing CPU overhead and offering exceptionally high TCP and UDP throughput. This significantly reduces the processor's workload, so there's more power for your game!

Turbo LAN

Turbo LAN with cFosSpeed traffic-shaping technology adds even more lag-reducing support and an intuitive user interface. It allows you to lower lag with no expert knowledge — by up to 1.45x! If you're a tweaker, use Advanced mode for hardcore controls. Real-time speed monitor Grouping your own favorite list Set priority to speed up for your application

SafeSlot

SafeSlot is the PCIe slot reinvented by ASUS and engineered to provide superior retention and shearing resistance. Manufactured in a single step using a new insert-molding process to integrate the slot with fortifying metal support for an inherently stronger design, the SafeSlot is then firmly anchored to the PCB through additional solder points.

Built to Last

ASUS is the world's foremost motherboard manufacturer, renowned for our unique Design Thinking approach. Our exhaustive testing exceeds industry standards, supported by high-quality components for exceptional real-world protection. Our motherboards are proven to be compatible with more than 1,000 components and devices, and each new model undergoes a minimum of 8,000 hours of strict validation. ASUS gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your motherboard is fit for all environments and applications. By choosing ASUS, you also gain the freedom to select outstanding component options, for trouble-free DIY experiences.

Make it your own

ASUS is the first motherboard manufacturer to support 3D printing, making it easy to customize your motherboard's appearance and improve system performance with a range of printable parts.

Exclusive 3D mount for easy installation

Dedicated 3D mounts on the motherboard makes fitting 3D-printed parts easy. Using the same screws as M.2 drives and standard motherboard mounting holes, you can easily add nameplates, cable covers, or an M.2 fan holder in a matter of moments.

Intel® Z270 Chipset

The Intel® Z270 is a single-chipset design that supports 7th Generation and 6th Generation Intel LGA1151 Core™ i7/Core i5/Core i3/Pentium®/Celeron® processors. It provides improved performance by utilizing serial point-to-point links, allowing increased bandwidth and stability. Additionally, the Z270 provides a maximum of 10 USB 3.0 ports, six SATA 6Gbps ports, and 32Gb/s M.2 and PCIe 3.0 lane speed support, for faster data retrieval. Intel Z270 also supports integrated graphics, so you'll enjoy the very latest in graphics performance.

Ready for 7th Generation and 6th Generation Intel LGA1151 Core i7/Core i5/Core i3/Pentium/Celeron processors

The ASUS Prime Z270-A motherboard supports 7th Generation and 6th Generation Intel Core™ i7/Core i5/Core i3/Pentium®/Celeron® processors in the LGA1151 package. Integrated graphics, memory and PCI Express controllers support onboard graphics output with dedicated chipsets, two-channel (4-DIMM) DDR4 memory and 16 PCI Express 3.0/2.0 lanes for great performance.

That is just a highlight of the Prime Z270-A’s many features. Let us take a look at the product specifications.

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